Visual Manna
Visual Manna is a family business that began around 1993 and has grown steadily. We are a family of four; and work together in different areas of our business. Before I begin to tell the story of my journey into homeschooling, I want to give what I feel is the most important advice in teaching your children to be creative individuals. Because my area of expertise is art, I want to share some very important ideas to encourage you as parent/teachers in the arts. The most important thing that art education can do is to teach children to think independently. When a younger child is showing you what is his own individual art project with happiness and joy; you are experiencing one of the great moments in education.

I believe it is far more important to allow younger children to be exposed to great works of art, vocabulary of the arts, and then a hands on project that allows them to express themselves and enhance fine motor skills than to do a structured program of learning how to draw. Most areas of the school day are very structured. Children do not have the freedom to put together materials and supplies and come up with something original. But in art this is very different. God created all the snowflakes differently and he did the same thing with children and the art that they do.

Older children require a more structured program in techniques and appreciation, but the primary goal should be showing children that every artist has his own individual style. By showing children pictures by various artists, it allows them to break away from the heavy pressure of performing in art to a certain standard to be correct. If you can show children an Impressionistic picture and then allow them to do a sponge painting to experience the technique of Impressionism; they will certainly remember the style. Renoir created some of his beautiful paintings with paintbrushes tied to his hands because of arthritis. He also wanted to paint beautiful things because there was so much ugliness in the world.

Creativity is such a fragile flower. It is easily crushed. Perhaps you have had that happen to you. As long as you are encouraging your children in the arts and making art a joyful experience, you will find that art will be the activity that refreshes you and your children/students the most during the school day.

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